the rules

rules to work by

These are the rules that we use in our workshops and rehearsals.

1. Be  nice.

This one is self-explanatory.

2. Ollie-ollie-oxen-free

Can be invoked when some are hiding opinions or even disapproval from the group out of fear of looking stupid. When invoked, some kind of round-robin sharing is required of everyone.

3. Reader’s Digest

Can be invoked when a speaker is being complex or obtuse and confusing people. When invoked, the speaker must give a simple summary of what he/she just said.

4. Cirque

As in Cirque du Soleil: Used when everyone seems to be letting practical issues — like time, money, and resources — get in the way of imagination. How would Cirque du Soleil stage it, given their unlimited budget and talent? Now, how can we head in that direction? [See an example here.)

5. Fail.

It’s okay to fail.

the four axioms (translated)

[Originally posted as Some axioms]

  1. We don’t worry about whether what someone else has said or done in work is “correct” or “good” or “bad” or not.
  2. We don’t have to respond to or engage in an idea or work or post that does not interest us or we do not understand. (Although, of course, we do have an obligation under the Ollie, ollie oxen free rule.)
  3. It is better if we’re not all thinking the same thing as we work. Another way of translating this is to say that everyone needs to share their ideas.
  4. As we commit to a piece of work as a group, it is irrelevant who thought of it first.

commentary on the rules

The Rules were developed in the early meetings of Lacuna. Most of the membership were “ordinary” actors, that is, their theatre experience consisted almost entirely of performing scripted works under the watchful eye of a director. As we began to explore different ways of creating performances, we came up with these simple rules to encourage people to leave their old boundaries behind.

The Four Axioms were originally written by a mathematician who collaborated extensively with another mathematician over several decades. As they started, he proposed these four rules (albeit in more academic language) to help them work amicably, productively, and without jealousy. We have adopted them.